The Best Murder Mystery Board Games like Clue (Cluedo)
Clue is all right isn’t it? One of those classic games that every family owns. Maybe Clue might be the best one, ohhhh deduction is fun. Solving a murder is fun. Feeling like a super, clever smarty pants by being the first one to work it all out. It was Professor Plum in the Kwik-e-Mart with the cat’s poor assassin dagger, but is Clue the best social deduction game on the market. Absolutely not, for god’s sake, how dare you Clue? How dare you!
For all of you armchair detectives who want to find the real culprit, or piece together a puzzle using clues without the whole hidden roles, stressful, lying aspect of social deduction games, this list is for you. This is the collection starter, and here are the top similar games like Clue.
Mystery of the Abbey.
Just a game of monks, doing monk things and also murder.
Is that a monk thing? Let me just check the bible, turns out no. Mystery of the Abbey has similar game play to Clue. Someone’s been done in and you have to use your detective work to figure out who done it, and it could be any one of these very hunky monks. Like Clue, you move around a building, in this case an Abbey.
But the amount of stuff that happens, makes the game so much more interesting and dynamic. If you’re in the same room as another player, you can ask them about their hand of monk cards, how many bearded monks do you have, or fat or bald or hooded, etc., but they get to ask you a question right back. Instead, you could use the special power of the room you’re in to get information or you could wait because every four turns mass is held and you ring a little church spell which is adorable like all religion is.
Everyone goes back to the sanctuary and big events happen. If you love exploring, grilling your opponents, and all the bluffing of Clue, Mystery of the Abbey is one of the best murder mystery games and is the perfect next step from Clue.
Watson and Holmes
We’ve talked a lot about Sherlock Holmes consulting detective, which makes sense. It’s a great little game where you use deductive reasoning and work together to basically solve a Victorian london crime. Novel Watson and homes is like that, but they thought what if it was a race, if one of the things about Clue that really revs your greens is the tick-tock deadline trying to get to the bottom of mystery quicker than everyone else then check this one out.
In the streets of london, you must find out the identity of the murderer in this classic crime-solving game. You got a grid of cards all these cards represent different facets of the case, the crime scene, a suspect, a special room, etc. Every turn every player goes to one of these cards, reads it, and makes note before returning the card to the board. However, on every turn, everyone must go to a separate place.
But what if everyone, like good detectives, wants to be the first at the crime scene? You have tokens like this, which you can use to bid on who gets to visit certain cards. You can auction to see who gets what information, it’s brilliant! You can also use tokens to block players from accessing cards. You can bluff that information on one card it’s super useful, but it turns out to be worth sh– all while everyone is inching closer and closer to the solution before you.
Tense, competitive mystery solving at its finest makes a perfect addition to you detective games collection!
Don’t go thinking that deduction games have to be super lightweight or have a map of London either. Step right up chunky boy with a big bank. Alchemists, a game box so heavy you could legit kill Colonel Mustard with it in the conservatory. My kind of game! In Alchemists, you’re wizards, trying to work out the chemical composition of these eight ingredients. Every game it’s randomized by a companion app, which you’ll use throughout the game.
It is during the game; you’ll be combining two elements which will give you a symbol. You use these symbols to work out which ingredients are made up of which elements using deduction. Not only that, but you’ll also be racing to publish your theories on these eight ingredients quicker than other players using worker placement and turn order, “fancy gaming terms”. But it basically means you’re all jostling to be correct quickly. If you want to add cutthroat multitasking to your gaming cauldron, once you start to think along the game’s lines, it’s very satisfying and production-wise it feels like a million bucks, from these cool cauldron shields to the app to this gorgeous disc world evoking board. Lots to love, if you don’t mind something that’s initially quite heavy and confusing it’s a classic game you’re sure to enjoy.
Oh boy! I love this game, but it’s a pain to teach. Basically, it’s like Death Note meets the movie Source Code meets Evil Chess and I love it and no one wants to play it with me.
So one of you is a mastermind working against the other players. At the beginning of the game the mastermind secretly finds out which of these main plots and which of these subplots, are in play and which characters have which special powers. Each plot has different character card with superpowers therefore, each plot has different failure conditions. So the players can only work out which plots they’re in by working out, which characters they’re sort of dealing with. They can normally only figure out what characters they’re dealing with based on the cause and effect of consequences and failures happening on the board. If they fail, they like, Source Code go back to day one, the loop resets, and basically armed with more information try and block the mastermind from making them fail again.
Now I can feel your eyes beginning to cross there so I’ll give you an example: on day three of the current loop this schoolgirl is moved here where she’s alone with the office worker, while other characters have also been moved around the board. At the end of the turn, the mastermind announces the schoolgirl has died, you have failed, the loop is over and it resets to day one.
So then the good players think, okay, we failed. How did we fail? What does this tell us? Well, if the loop ended just because this girl died, the only way for that act alone to end the loop means she’s a key person. If there’s a key person in play this must be the main plot and the only way for her to die just by being alone with someone is, if there’s a serial killer involved which means we’re in this cold case subplot.
Okay, now on the next loop, we have to make sure the school girl is never alone with the office worker. It’s not simple I’ll concede that, but when it works, no board game feels more like a battle of wits.
Back in our list of top 10 cooperative game, we mentioned Mysterium, a classic board game. Lovely mystery and with its gorgeous cards and fun twist on Clue’s suspect, location and weapon structure. I also mentioned that soon a rebooted version of Mysterium would be coming out, and here it is Mysterium park, cheaper than Mysterium and a perfect alternative for a Clue game.
More streamlined, easier to set up, shorter and way more portable if you’ve never tried either game. This is the one of the best mystery board games to get. Trust me, especially if you love circuses, it’s also bloody gorgeous. You set up the game like so with this three by three grid of murder suspects.
One of you is a clue giving ghost that looks at this card, knows which suspect belongs to which player. You then have to look through your ghost cards and give players one of these abstract dreamlike beauties, and they have to try and work out where it is you’re leading them. Does this explosion mean my suspect, is the human cannonball or is it the fire juggler? Oh wait, this is a crystal ball, maybe it’s the fortune teller, all the other players are working together. Offering clues and suggestions.
Mysterium has always been super fun, and this version is the best board games version of the game. If you already have regular Mysterium, don’t despair, you can use those cards using this game’s rules, hooray for synergized gaming experiences! It’s no 221b baker street but it is a classic mystery game.
I’m a big kid who likes to play with toys and on this list probably the biggest toy box – is Treasure Island. An unreasonably fun game of trying to work out where, on this map, long john Silver, unfortunately not played by Tim Curry, has buried his treasure. Literally the game board is just a map, and somewhere is literal buried treasure decided by the Long John player at the start by then placing a little x on their secret treasure map. Oh, I love this.
The rest of the players are competing pirates who race around the board, using rulers and dry erase pens for drawing circles on the board. Asking Long John, is your treasure inside this circle. Every few turns Long John must give clues like it’s within such a distance from this player before actually drawing that area on the map using a huge compass. If you’re not wowed by novelty, stationery you’re probably reading the wrong site.
Each pirate also has private knowledge knowing that the treasure definitely isn’t in some parts of the board. They can spend powers to check if Long John’s clues are truth or lies, because, yes, Long John can lie look at him, he’s played by Tim Curry. Turning this into a huge race against time, why is the green player racing to search over there you’ll wonder, convinces actually the treasures in your part of the board? Isn’t it? Oh god, what does he know?
A tense beautiful little puzzle gameplay stuffed with side eye pirate paranoia.
Have you seen Arrival? You should! It’s an awesome film about language, the nature of communication and how to form understanding with creatures you have literally no frame of reference for. First Contact is Arrival the board game. Half the players are aliens visiting earth for no suspicious reasons. Absolutely nothing to worry about just browsing, and the other half are humans.
On the table is a grid of objects, maybe a bow, a gem, a lion. The aliens want some of these objects with each alien wanting different ones. The problem is these aliens are telling the humans, what’s on their amazon wish list using this language, what the [ __ ] does that mean? See the aliens are looking at this grid where each of these symbols means a concept like this symbol here means alive. This symbol means big.
This is the language the aliens are working on. So, in this case, the alien is asking for the big alive thing, he’s asking for the lion. However, the humans have no idea these symbols mean big and alive, so they don’t know what to offer him. However, on the human’s turn, they can try and learn the alien language.
So if the humans point to all of these cards featuring alive things, they’re, basically asking the aliens – or at least they hope, the aliens understand it to be. “Hey, which one concept links all of these together.” The only thing – oh they’re – probably trying to work out the symbols for a live, so they show them that symbol which the humans then jot down and you can use to translate future messages. It is so smart, proper conceptual deduction. It’s a genuine joy being able to understand all these objects, how they’re linked by various threads of thought. Or just totally messing it up and offering your honored guests a bit of rope instead of the lion, they really want.
Oh god, I love deduction games and this one is pure deduction. No special powers, no fancy office supply based gimmicks, just simple Pluto style. Eliminating the impossible until all you have left is the right answer. You’ve got this map in front of you, which can be broken up and arranged in many different ways, depending on the scenario. You’re playing on just one of these hexagons. Just one and no others, a monster is hiding. Every player has a little book, then, on this card, they’re told which clue for this scenario they know to be true.
For example, on this card for a three player game. We know these three clues are right within one space of desert nice, by the way on water or swamp and within two spaces of cougar territory. Using those clues, only one of these hexes is correct. Just happens to be this one by the way. This is the only hex, that’s either water or swamp within one space of desert and within two spaces of cougar territory. It’s such clever design problem is each player has a different piece of the puzzle and then has to work out everyone’s secret clue by asking them questions.
Like I say, hey :Jeff, according to your clue, could the creature be here”? And he’ll respond with either a “yes token” or a “no token” and after multiple guesses, you process all that data before finally claiming I think it’s here. But unlike Clue, the brilliance of the design means, if you get it wrong, you’re not eliminated, but rather can keep playing, which is great! because player elimination is horse malarkey.
Time for something light, and honestly you don’t get much lighter than Paranormal Detectives. A deduction party game about one of you being a murdered ghost and everyone else racing to work out how you died. The detectives have these cards and need to work out the main info of your death. Who killed you when, why, how, and the weapon, which is also how, but never mind. On their turn each detective asks a question of the ghost, like who killed you, and plays a card which dictates what silly little mini game the ghost will have to play to impart this information to you.
Maybe they’ll mouth the word to you precisely once or draw it on your back. Act it out for a few seconds spell it out, with an Ouija board, set out like the keypad of an early 20s Nokia, 3610 or no joke construct an image out of this weird pipe lagging rope stuff. It’s very silly, but very endearing. As he forced the ghost player to thoroughly embarrass themselves in trying and failing to convey to you they were eaten by a shark.
A lot of these games are quiet, tense and thinky. This is loud, fun and funny room for all at the Clue family table creating a good murder mystery laugh.
There is no game that fits the exact silhouette of Clue but better, more than Awkward Guests amazing game in the mystery genre. You’re gathering in a mansion, there’s a body. You have to work out, which suspect did it with what murder weapon and instead of which room you have to work out, what Their motive was. to help you crack this fiendish little puzzle you’re, giving a sheet with all sorts of information to be crossed out and eliminated.
At the start of each game, The murderer has to start in one of these rooms and travel through the house to where the murder took place. Picking up the murder weapon as they go. You’ll start with a hand of six cards which will give you info, perhaps which murder weapon it definitely wasn’t, or that one of the suspects didn’t pass through a certain room or which room certain suspects started in.
On your turn, like Clue, you can ask for clues about certain things like I’m looking for clues about the bedroom or Greg Gaffney. People can offer you cards that have those keywords on them. However, unlike Clue, where you just look at the cards and give them back, you keep the cards and you have to give up some of your own. So everyone’s swapping info or hoarding certain cards for themselves racing to untangle this knot of pathways weapons and lies and again, better than Clue there’s a mobile app.
So if someone makes a guess and it’s wrong – the computer just says try again and they can stay in the game to guess on a future turn which is great unlimited multiplayer fun and that’s our list. Check out our list on Best Monopoly Board Games!
What else makes it in our list of best mystery games? Or do you just really like Clue? If so, what’s your favorite Clue memory, let us know in the comments!